This Month’s Feature Gemstone
February Birthstone – Amethyst
Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz, which also includes the popular citrine. Amethyst is the only purple gemstone, which makes it difficult to confuse with any other. It is extremely durable (No. 7 on Mohs scale), making it a popular choice for jewellery. 19th century amethyst was mined in Siberia, where the material produced was a wonderful deep purple, and was highly prized. Today, the mines of Brazil are the main producers of amethyst, which is lighter in colour. Amethyst has a distinctive inclusion known as a “Zebra Stripe”, named for its concentric and distinctive lines.
Historically, the name “amethyst” derives from the Greek amethystos. Amethyst was believed to keep the wearer clear headed and quick witted in battle and business affairs.
Catherine the Great (Empress Catherine II of Russia, 1729–1796) had a penchant for the gem and adorned herself in amethyst necklaces, earrings and other ornaments.
The famous jewellery connoisseur Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor (1896–1986), made a memorable statement when she wore a lavish Cartier-designed amethyst and turquoise bib necklace to a gala in Versailles in 1953.
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